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hai ma, sea horse, hippocamus 海馬       (in English and Chinese 中英文)


by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu


Pharmaceutical name:



Latin zoological name:



  1. Hippocampus kelloggi Jordanet  Snvder  (克氏海馬}

  2. Hippocampus histrix Kaup (刺海馬}

  3. Hippocampus  kuda Bleeker (大海馬}

  4. Hippocampus trimaculatus Leach  (三班海馬}

  5. Hippocampus japonicus Kaup (日本海馬}

Pron. in Japanese:



Pron. in Korean:



Pron. in Cantonese:


hoi2 maa5

Other Names:


shui ma 水馬《抱补子》﹐xia gu 蝦姑《海南介語》﹐long luo zi 龍落子﹐ma tou yu 馬頭魚《動物學大辭典》

Common Name:


sea horse



Produced in southern part of China, Thailand,


Properties (characteristics):性 味:

sweet, warm

甘 , 溫﹐

Channels (meridians) entered:


liver, kidney

入肝, 腎經

Actions & Indications:


asthma, impotence, unable to conceive, sleepiness and lack of strength, infection of throat, skin diseases, difficulty in delivery babies, insomnia  due to deficiency, sciatica, injuries, abdomen pain, and breast cancer.

哮喘﹐陽痿及不孕﹐嗜 眠症和體力衰竭﹐喉嚨感染﹐皮膚病﹐難產﹐ 虛煩不眠﹐腰腿痛﹐跌打損傷, 腹痛﹐乳腺癌。

Medical function:



sex hormone effect: the alcohol extract of hai ma can prolong the heat period of female rats, increases the weight of the ovaries and possesses the effect of female hormone. It also can increase the weight of the prostate gland, spermatophore, and levator ani muscles. Its effect is stronger than she chuang zi,  yin yang huo,  ge jie.

anti aging effect: hai ma can increase the threshold of mice in lack of oxygen, lower monoamine oxidase, and lower lipid peroxide inside the body.

anti cancer effect: water decoction of hai long can promote normal people peripheral lymphocyte transformation, can inhibit human cancer cells. It is possible to observe the dissolving of the cancer cells after contacting the extract of hai long. The larger the dosage the larger was the rate of dissolving of the cells and the more obvious was the leaching out of the content of the cancer cells.  


性激素作用:海馬乙醇提取物能引起與延長雌鼠動情期,增加其卵巢與子宮重量而有雌性激素作用。也能增加雄鼠的前列腺,精囊,提肛肌的重量,亦有雄激素樣作用。其效力較蛇床子淫羊藿蛤 蚧強。


Samples of formulae:


For impotence or unable to conceive: hai ma, bake dry and make into powder. Take 3 g each time, 3 times a day with some yellow rice wine.

陽萎 ﹐ 不孕﹕ 海馬焙乾研為細末 ﹐每服3克 ﹐ 每日3次 ﹐ 黃 酒 沖 服 。

Chemical ingredients:



Contains protease, fat, various amino acid and salt

The yellow color of the skin of Hippocampus histrix Kaup (刺海馬) is γ-carotene, and the red color is astaxanthin, astacene, and the black color is melanin. It also contain acetylcholinesterase, cholinesterase.

The Hippocampus trimaculatus Leach  (三班海馬) contains stearic acid, and cholesterol .

含蛋白酶 (protease), 脂肪﹐ 多種氨基酸及無機鹽。

(1)刺海馬皮肤黄色素為 γ-胡萝卜素(γ-carotene), 红色素為虾毒素(astaxanthin) 喇蛄素(astacene),黑色素為黑素(melanin)。并含乙酰胆碱酯酶(acetylcholinesterase)﹐ 胆碱酯酶 (cholinesterase)。

(2)三斑海馬  含硬脂酸 Stearic Acid)膽 固醇 (cholesterol) ﹐胆甾二醇。




For decoction: 3 to 9 g. Taken in powder form: 1 to 3 g. External use: grind into fine powder.

煎湯内服:3 ~ 9 克;或入散劑﹕1 ~ 3 克。外用:研末撒。




  1. Not to use during pregnancy or in cases of yinxu (yin deficient)  with high heat.

  2. Large dosage and long term usage can be toxic to kidneys

  1. 孕婦及陰 虛火 旺者忌服。

  2. 大劑量與長期服用 ﹐可能對有毒。


 【1】張前進 陝西省中醫學校 (渭南714000)

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Last update: May 19, 2015; 3 p.m. LAH